OLYMPIA – During the week of November 29 – December 5, there were 24,587 initial regular unemployment claims (up 10.1 percent from the prior week) and 492,533 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 7.1 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). 

  • Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 145 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Initial regular claims applications, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims and continued/ongoing claims for regular benefits all increased over the week.
  • Increases in regular initial claims over the week occurred across most industry sectors with the largest increases over the week occurring in the Health Care and Social Assistance (+587) and Construction (+561) industry sectors. Increases in construction industry claims are expected this time of year. The increases from within the HealthCare and Social Assistance sector came primarily from child day care services, services for the elderly and persons with disabilities, and from general medical and surgical hospitals. 

In the week ending December 5, ESD paid out over $148.8 million for 300,987 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $12.8 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment
claim type
Week of November 29-December 5 Week of November 22-November 28 Week of November 15-November 21
Regular Unemployment
Insurance (UI) initial
claims
24,587 22,334 30,274
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims 3,759 3,302 4,396
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims 11,043 7,082 8,387
Continued/ongoing
weekly claims
453,144 426,963 421,827
Total claims 492,533 459,681 464,884

For more information on current claimants and claims processing progress, please go to the benefits data dashboard on the ESD website. 

Note: Detailed claims data and charts by county, industry and occupation will be included in this release on the first Thursday of every month. You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website

Below is a forty week summary of statewide initial claims filed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis:

40 week claims table Nov 29 - Dec 5
Statewide initial claims line chart Nov 29 - Dec 5
Statewide total claims line chart Nov 29 - Dec 5

For complete information of weekly initial claims by industry sector and county for the year to date, also check the weekly unemployment initial claims charts compiled by ESD’s Labor Market & Economic Analysis division. For more information about specific counties, contact one of ESD’s regional local economists.

ESD will send out the next weekly new claims press release on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.


Data disclaimer and definitions

Per U.S. Department of Labor regulations, weekly unemployment claims data is embargoed and not available for release until the Thursday following the claim week. 

Initial claims include individuals who filed first-time claims as well as additional claims filed by individuals as a result of a new unemployment event. Initial claims include claims that are still being reviewed for eligibility. Counts for initial claims are not indicative of the number of claims that will result in monetary compensation.

Continuing claims equal continued weeks claimed including a total of all weeks for which benefits were claimed, even though such benefits were not paid or payment status is uncertain or unknown, e.g., waiting weeks, partial weeks, weeks for which penalties are being served and weeks for which a monetary or nonmonetary issue is pending. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is an emergency program established by the CARES Act that temporarily expands unemployment insurance  eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is an emergency program established by the CARES Act that extends unemployment insurance for an extra 13 weeks to those who have exhausted their benefits.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is an emergency program established by the CARES Act to increase unemployment benefits for Americans who are out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under FPUC, eligible people who collect certain unemployment insurance benefits—including regular unemployment compensation—will get an extra $600 in federal benefits each week through the week ending July 25, 2020. 

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Mario Lotmore

Mario Lotmore is originally from The Bahamas and for the last seven years has called Mukilteo, WA his home. Having lived in every region of the United States has exposed him to various cultures, people, and approaches to life. Lotmore created the Lynnwood Times to represent the character of a diverse and growing Lynnwood. The launching of the city’s community newspaper will only help bring neighborhoods together. Lotmore was an industrial engineer by trade and proven success implementing and managing lean accountable processes and policies within his eighteen years of operations excellence, strategic development, and project management in the aerospace, manufacturing, and banking industries. Over his career he has saved and created hundreds of union and non-union jobs. Lotmore is the President of a Homeowner Association, an active Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics volunteer in his community, and former Boeing 747 Diversity Council leader. Mario’s talent is finding “that recipe” of shared destiny to effectively improve the quality of life for others.

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